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Lunar Lander


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I know I've asked this question a few times before, but before I can get an answer the question is always stepped on and I can't find it again.

So I'm starting a new thread dedicated to just this answer.

In the photos of the Luner Lander there's a flag and a poster that reads "USA" that appears to be taped on the side of the lander.

Was this poster of the flag and "USA" taped on by the astronauts on the moon, or was it fixed on there before blastoff?

Thanks to whoever can answer this,

BK

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I know I've asked this question a few times before, but before I can get an answer the question is always stepped on and I can't find it again.

So I'm starting a new thread dedicated to just this answer.

In the photos of the Luner Lander there's a flag and a poster that reads "USA" that appears to be taped on the side of the lander.

Was this poster of the flag and "USA" taped on by the astronauts on the moon, or was it fixed on there before blastoff?

Thanks to whoever can answer this,

BK

Bill, the decals were affixed on earth. Nothing was affixed "on the moon".

Jack

post-667-009374100 1283300255_thumb.jpg

Edited by Jack White
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Thanks Jack.

So the duck tape held through the blast off from earth and the entry onto the moon.

That's a good reason to buy ducktape.

How is that officially explained?

BK

Are you kidding? NASA explains nothing. They say "BELIEVE! We are omnipotent and holy!"

Maybe you should debate Burton on this exhibit.

Jack

Edited by Jack White
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Thanks Jack - since I know considerably more than you do in this area, Bill should ask me.

Bill,

The LM was protected during the blast off and trans-lunar injection by the SLA (spacecraft / lunar module adapter) panels on the S-IVB stage. Only after it was in space and on it's way to the Moon were the panels jettisoned and the LM extracted.

400px-ApolloSpacecraftLMAdapterDiagram.png

SLA Panels on S-IVB

AS09-19-2919.jpg

Apollo 9 LM waits extraction from the S-IVB stage in Earth orbit (Apollo 9 was an Earth orbit mission, testing the LM)

So through the atmosphere it was protected. After that it was in empty space. No atmosphere to rip it off, etc. No frictional forces.

No atmosphere during the landing.

If you've watched Mythbusters, you'll know how strong duct tape actually is (although this was not duct tape). Probably ordinary packing tape would have been fine. The only thing to consider was the effect of a vacuum and heat / cold.

Have a look at this hi-res - and very large - image of a satellite prior to launch. Notice anything?

http://www.nasa.gov/...81-04-196lg.jpg

Incidentally, that's why the LM could be built as it was; it was only ever designed to fly in space.

As usual, nothing unusual.

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Thanks Jack - since I know considerably more than you do in this area, Bill should ask me.

Bill,

The LM was protected during the blast off and trans-lunar injection by the SLA (spacecraft / lunar module adapter) panels on the S-IVB stage. Only after it was in space and on it's way to the Moon were the panels jettisoned and the LM extracted.

400px-ApolloSpacecraftLMAdapterDiagram.png

SLA Panels on S-IVB

AS09-19-2919.jpg

Apollo 9 LM waits extraction from the S-IVB stage in Earth orbit (Apollo 9 was an Earth orbit mission, testing the LM)

So through the atmosphere it was protected. After that it was in empty space. No atmosphere to rip it off, etc. No frictional forces.

No atmosphere during the landing.

If you've watched Mythbusters, you'll know how strong duct tape actually is (although this was not duct tape). Probably ordinary packing tape would have been fine. The only thing to consider was the effect of a vacuum and heat / cold.

Have a look at this hi-res - and very large - image of a satellite prior to launch. Notice anything?

http://www.nasa.gov/...81-04-196lg.jpg

Incidentally, that's why the LM could be built as it was; it was only ever designed to fly in space.

As usual, nothing unusual.

Okay, so they didn't put it on after they got there, but why is so patchwork, and jury rigged?

I mean, did they remember at the last minute, that in case there's anyone waiting for them they should have a US Flag

and a sign that says USA on it?

And then stick it up there before lift off?

It just seems so haphazardly put together.

BK

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Okay, so they didn't put it on after they got there, but why is so patchwork, and jury rigged?

I mean, did they remember at the last minute, that in case there's anyone waiting for them they should have a US Flag

and a sign that says USA on it?

And then stick it up there before lift off?

It just seems so haphazardly put together.

BK

Good question. The prime consideration for the Lunar Module was weight. It was vital to keep the weight down. Not only did it cost more in fuel to get to lunar orbit, it cost more fuel to get the LM down to the surface. Shaving ounces off the spacecraft became an issue. To read more about it, refer to Chariots for Apollo - A History of Manned Lunar Spacecraft. You can also find numerous sources on the internet such as here and here and here. So this is why such seemingly 'haphazard' means were used. Did you have a look at the satellite image? Similar methods are used today. The use of cheap, lightweight material that did the job was very important.

If you want to read more, then can I recommend you approach your local library and request:

MOON LANDER by Thomas J. Kelly (the guy who supervised the building of the LMs), published by Smithsonian Books, 2001.

I hope I have answered your question. if not, can I expand further?

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Bill...since you have started your own private debate with Burton, question him on this one.

Does this look like something you could fly to the moon in? And back?

Or was it built in Burton's backyard by kids using cardboard and duct tape?

Jack

Why in the world would you think you could NOT transit from lunar orbit to the surface of the moon and back to lunar orbit in that craft? Do you see ANYTHING in that photo NOT up to the task for which it was designed?

Inquiring minds REALLY want to know.

Edited by Craig Lamson
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Bill,

Notice Jack won't engage me directly, and simply posts image and says trust me.

I say do not rely on me. Read some of the references i have given you. Find a university in your area, and speak to people in the engineering departments. If your uni has an aeronautical or aerospace engineering department, even better. Got to those who are trained and qualified in the area. Don't rely on what I say, and for your own sake do not trust Jack.

While you are waiting to do that, have a look at this site which details just how it was build. Look underneath the "gold foil".

Remember - this was build by engineers. Experienced engineers from Grumman, a company with a proud history in aerospace. Do you believe if Jack were right that none of these people would have noticed something amiss, like using tape?

apmisc-LM-noID-38.jpg

You might read the interview with Tom Kelly, the LM lead design engineer, on the S/CAT site (linked above) about the building of the LM. You might want to have a look at the Oral History series interview with him. An excerpt:

KELLY: Yes. The LM had to have a very lightweight thermal protection system. In fact, the LM had to be very lightweight in general, because for every pound that we took down to the surface and brought back to orbit, we had to add over three pounds of propellant. So it was like a four-to-one growth factor for weight. So that’s what was driving the LM to be so lightweight. Well, we had to thermally isolate it from the space environment, because in space it’s basically 250 degrees in the sun and minus 250 in the shade. We couldn’t stand that, so we basically wrapped the LM in a very thin aluminized Mylar cover that in a vacuum operated like

a vacuum jacket. So the whole LM was wrapped up in that multi-layered aluminized Mylar cover. We combined that with the micrometeoroid protection by putting a thin aluminum shield on the outside…of it. So we had a combination of meteoroid protection and thermal shielding which was very lightweight. It was something you had to be careful with on the ground, because it was very delicate. But that’s basically what it was, filled in with the multi-layer insulation blankets.

RUSNAK: How well did this design work structurally when you were first trying to make this function?

KELLY: It worked very well. We didn’t really have any problems with it. It was strong enough that it didn’t tear itself apart in the G loads, mainly because it was so light, but it was also very effective as a thermal insulator.

We tested a full-size LM. It was called LTA-8, LM Test Article No. 8. That was tested in that big thermal vacuum chamber in Houston, full size, and with the astronauts inside for part of the mission. We put it through the complete thermal paces. It had heaters on it, heater strips, and the chamber had cold walls, so we could simulate any combination of thermal conditions that we were going to get on the mission. It performed very well in those tests. We were quite confident when we went into the mission that we wouldn’t have any thermal problems, and we didn’t.

Examine the evidence, talked to the qualified people, and based on what you have learnt you can make up your own mind.

After you have done this, if you have further questions I'll be happy to either answer or point you towards an authoritative source.

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Bill,

Notice Jack won't engage me directly, and simply posts image and says trust me.

I say do not rely on me. Read some of the references i have given you. Find a university in your area, and speak to people in the engineering departments. If your uni has an aeronautical or aerospace engineering department, even better. Got to those who are trained and qualified in the area. Don't rely on what I say, and for your own sake do not trust Jack.

While you are waiting to do that, have a look at this site which details just how it was build. Look underneath the "gold foil".

Remember - this was build by engineers. Experienced engineers from Grumman, a company with a proud history in aerospace. Do you believe if Jack were right that none of these people would have noticed something amiss, like using tape?

apmisc-LM-noID-38.jpg

You might read the interview with Tom Kelly, the LM lead design engineer, on the S/CAT site (linked above) about the building of the LM. You might want to have a look at the Oral History series interview with him. An excerpt:

KELLY: Yes. The LM had to have a very lightweight thermal protection system. In fact, the LM had to be very lightweight in general, because for every pound that we took down to the surface and brought back to orbit, we had to add over three pounds of propellant. So it was like a four-to-one growth factor for weight. So that's what was driving the LM to be so lightweight. Well, we had to thermally isolate it from the space environment, because in space it's basically 250 degrees in the sun and minus 250 in the shade. We couldn't stand that, so we basically wrapped the LM in a very thin aluminized Mylar cover that in a vacuum operated like

a vacuum jacket. So the whole LM was wrapped up in that multi-layered aluminized Mylar cover. We combined that with the micrometeoroid protection by putting a thin aluminum shield on the outside…of it. So we had a combination of meteoroid protection and thermal shielding which was very lightweight. It was something you had to be careful with on the ground, because it was very delicate. But that's basically what it was, filled in with the multi-layer insulation blankets.

RUSNAK: How well did this design work structurally when you were first trying to make this function?

KELLY: It worked very well. We didn't really have any problems with it. It was strong enough that it didn't tear itself apart in the G loads, mainly because it was so light, but it was also very effective as a thermal insulator.

We tested a full-size LM. It was called LTA-8, LM Test Article No. 8. That was tested in that big thermal vacuum chamber in Houston, full size, and with the astronauts inside for part of the mission. We put it through the complete thermal paces. It had heaters on it, heater strips, and the chamber had cold walls, so we could simulate any combination of thermal conditions that we were going to get on the mission. It performed very well in those tests. We were quite confident when we went into the mission that we wouldn't have any thermal problems, and we didn't.

Examine the evidence, talked to the qualified people, and based on what you have learnt you can make up your own mind.

After you have done this, if you have further questions I'll be happy to either answer or point you towards an authoritative source.

Well, my question is pretty simple, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know the answer.

When did they decide to put the American flag and sign that read: "UNITED STATES" on the side of the lander

and why did they do it with posterboard and tape like it was a grammer school romper room project?

And when did they put it on?

You've already answerd the second one. It was not done on the moon you say, so it had to be done on earth.

BK

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Well, my question is pretty simple, and you don't need to be a rocket scientist to know the answer.

When did they decide to put the American flag and sign that read: "UNITED STATES" on the side of the lander

and why did they do it with posterboard and tape like it was a grammer school romper room project?

And when did they put it on?

You've already answerd the second one. It was not done on the moon you say, so it had to be done on earth.

BK

My apologies Bill - I didn't answer your questions.

When was it decided to put a US flag and the words UNITED STATES on the LM? I don't know... but it was carried on the Mercury capsule and on the Gemini capsule, so it's not unreasonable to assume they planned to put it on from the original planning stage (as these early design studies would indicate).

Why did they do it that way? As I posted earlier, weight was everything. The outside of the descent stage was covered with the Mylar film, so the easiest, lightest and most logical solution was to tape it on.

When did they put it on? Shortly before the spacecraft was placed in the SLA, I believe, though I don't believe there was a specific schedule. Systems were still being worked on and checked prior to launch. Apollo 9, 10 and 11 images don't show it on until just prior to mating to the launch vehicle. They were placed on the Apollo 12 LM well prior to the mating. They could have been placed on the spacecraft at the same time that the plaque was attached the the LM landing strut.

Sorry, but I don't really know. I'll do some research but have never read about that particular activity before.

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